Category Archives: Urban scene

Optimistic stage

Thursday 17th June 2021, 8.15am (day 3,584)

MIF stage, 17/6/21

Since the start of the Great Fear it’s been the cities, like Manchester, which have felt the most alien and empty. Shoppers have come back, but not yet tourists nor office workers. Whether or not those latter groups will return, and how, is still an open question. But this stage, being built for the Manchester International Festival is, to me, a sign of optimism — yet there are still so many lockdown-loving lunatics out there (most obviously in the Labour Party) that we may never be sure of anything again. Covid ain’t going away, anyone. We will be catching it, ‘testing positive’ for it, for the rest of our lives. Get used to it.

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Sackville Street

Wednesday 9th June 2021, 4.15pm (day 3,576)

Sackville Street, 9/6/21

No particular message today; just an interesting urban scene. I’ve been seeking to, at some point, capture a train coming over one or other of Manchester’s downtown rail bridges, and here it is.

Sackville Street was the subject of the Inspiral Carpets’ rather good track “Sackville“, don’t you know. The place has obviously cleaned up a bit since that came out in 1990, considering the lyrics.

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Bash Street

Monday 7th June 2021, 9.30am (day 3,574)

Bash Street, 7/6/21

If you have no idea about the place of the comic, The Beano, in the British psyche, then this post will mean little to you. But Dundee (specifically, the publisher D C Thomson) is its home; and it was amusing to discover that Bash Street was around the corner from our hotel. This being the home (in the comic) of the gang of unruly schoolchildren, the Bash Street Kids, as depicted on the street sign.

Anyway, this was the last morning in Dundee and so the last on this little excursion outside England. A productive trip, too. There should be more to be seen of this place.

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Bookable teaching space

Wednesday 2nd June 2021, 8.25am (day 3,569)

Uni pagoda, 2/6/21

These ‘pagdoas’ have sprung up around campus recently. At least we have more spaces in which we can start getting back to face-to-face. This is one of those shots where I worry that the symmetry is not quite what it could be. But it doesn’t matter too much.

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Granville Square (London shot #101)

Tuesday 1st June 2021, 9.15am (day 3,568)

Granville Square, 1/6/21

On this, the 101st day that London has appeared on this blog, we had left for home by 10am, but there was still time to discover another of the quiet little corners that make this a pleasant city in so many ways, and partly explain why I come back so often. Granville Square sits not fifty yards off the Kings Cross Road, right in the centre of the city, but you wouldn’t know it on this glorious June morning.

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Embrace Sheffield

Thursday 27th May 2021, 7.35pm (day 3,563)

Embrace, Sheffield, 27/5/21

Gosh — sunny and warm weather, and a night out with friends. Embrace both, infeed. But like Manchester, the city of Sheffield is only half-alive, so much is boarded up, shuttered, or simply closed. Huge numbers have been vaccinated and still we are pushed the fiction that everyday life has become ‘unsafe’, that asserting our freedom is selfish. This virus will be around for the rest of our lives. Time to get used to it.

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The hillside (with non-conformist tree)

Tuesday 18th May 2021, 2.30pm (day 3,554)

Lee Wood hillside, 18/5/21

An improvement in the weather, at least temporarily. The red tree proudly stands out from its neighbours; dare to be different…

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Princess Street

Friday 14th May 2021, 8.30am (day 3,550)

Princess Street, 14/5/21

Manchester’s still not exactly busying up on a morning, but its comatose, lockdown self is not unattractive. I like this shot — excepting the litter bin, which never helps. Nor do lampposts.

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Desert fortress?

Wednesday 12th May 2021, 1.35pm (day 3,548)

Fortress rodblok, 12/5/21

Out in the harsh desert wastes of the Karakatarmakadam Mountains, the stark grey stonework of the Fortress of Rodblok stands astride the gravel flats, beside the dried-up river valley. Abandoned for centuries, the winter winds are now all that move through its lonely halls. No longer do pilgrims visit to pay homage to the great Red Icon embedded in its highest reaches.

Or, possibly, it’s a plastic object of some sort lying around in that roadbuilders’ yard on the way to Mytholmroyd. See it how you like.

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Under the awning

Friday 7th May 2021, 5.05pm (day 3,543)

Pub awning and heater, 7/5/21

Manufacturers of outside awnings and other shelters for pub gardens have probably been one of the few economic sectors to see some positive growth in the last few weeks. The skies were blue this evening, but it’s not going to last.

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